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Anne Stickney

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Know Your Lore: The dawn of the Horde

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

The Horde as a factional entity has without question seen the most push in terms of story development -- but that's not necessarily something that could be considered an advantage when it comes to World of Warcraft. Sure, story is all well and good, and the advancement of plot is something that's always fun to see. But in the case of the Horde, that plot and story has had some of the most tumultuous conflicts we've seen, including full out inter-factional warfare in Mists of Pandaria.

And now we stand at the cusp of new expansion, one that is turning away from the factional conflicts of Azeroth, and instead setting its sights on the distant world of Draenor and the evil schemes of the Iron Horde. Again, the advancement of story is all well and good, here. And given what happened in Mists of Pandaria, perhaps it's for the best that we depart the stormy shores of Durotar and turn our focus elsewhere ... because right now, the Horde is at its weakest. What is the future of the Horde? That's a pretty good question -- one that likely began to plague Warchief Vol'jin the moment we stepped out of Siege.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

WoW Moviewatch: Pointless Top 10: Banks in World of Warcraft

You know what I like? All those little pointless things in WoW that most people don't really think about. That's why I really enjoy Wowcrendor's Pointless Top 10 lists, and he absolutely does not disappoint with his latest list, which highlights a variety of different banks. Most of the time, we don't even think about banks as anything other than a place to go to put the stuff we aren't currently using but, for some reason, really want to squirrel away and keep. They aren't really anything we actively take a moment to look at.

Crendor's top 10 list takes the time to point out all those cool little things about the banks we take for granted. There are a few details he mentioned on the list that I hadn't really given much thought to or taken particular notice of, and I've been playing this game for ten years. But the main reason I love this particular top 10 list is because I hands down, without question absolutely agree with his number one choice, and seeing it again made me wistfully recall far too many hours spent at that particular bank.


Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Warlords of Draenor: Warspear and Stormshield

In Warlords of Draenor, the island of Ashran isn't just home to a potential paradise for world PvP -- it's also the location of both Alliance and Horde faction hub cities. City may be too strong of a word, however -- the two areas are more like souped up bases of operation than proper capital cities like Shattrath or Dalaran. Less giant city, more stronghold -- and slightly more spread out than the garishly charming Shrines in Mists of Pandaria -- both Warspear and Stormshield are meant to be not necessarily a home away from home, but a centrally located area for commerce and trade.

Each stronghold contains portals to every capital city for your respective faction, as well as profession outposts, an auction house, an inn, and a hub of activity for the nearby PvP action in Ashran. In a way, it's kind of nice that the action is nearby. Shattrath was a fun hub city, but it was nowhere near Halaa. Dalaran was great, but having to hop a portal to get to Wintergrasp was never the most elegant solution for players that wanted to duke it out with other players. Still, one of the major concerns for players is simply the strongholds themselves, and their proximity to areas that some people might not want to partake in. So what are these strongholds really like?

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: The Phantom Queue

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

You guys seemed to appreciate the music in yesterday's Queue, so have an amazingly well done, remastered version. I promise I will not suplex this Queue when I am done answering questions.*

Tschekt asked:

Q4tQ: With the Dark Portal being redirected to Draenor, what happens to all the Alliance and Horde forces left in Outland? Are they forever stranded with no way of returning home? Or is there some way to rewire the Dark Portal to reconnect it with Outland and rescue them?

Both the portal in Stormwind's mage tower and the portal in the Cleft of Shadow originally teleported players to just outside the Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands. In beta, they now teleport players directly to Hellfire Peninsula. In Hellfire, there are portals that go directly back to Stormwind and Orgrimmar. So there really isn't a problem there at all -- nobody is stranded in Outland, it's business as usual.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: What's your favorite class ability?

When I started playing a shaman, it was partially because I wanted to try my hand at a caster again, and partially because I remembered enjoying the class when I tried it out back in vanilla. Of course back then I was enhancement, and this time I chose elemental for leveling purposes -- but I figured if I didn't really enjoy ranged casting, I could always flip back to melee and play the class that way. What I didn't expect was how much I'd enjoy elemental, and the experience of being a casting class again. Sure, I've played both mages and warlocks, but there's something inherently cool about playing a shaman.

And by "inherently cool," I mean "I really enjoy using chain lightning on giant groups of mobs and watching them get zapped." It's my favorite part about the class ... or it was until I saw the new spell animation for Fulmination on the beta. For those that don't play shaman, here's what you need to know: Fulmination stacks with your Lightning Shield. When you reach 20 stacks of Fulmination, you can hit Earth Shock, and all those charges of Lightning Shield will be packed on to your hit. On the beta, this Earth Shock is also accompanied by a gigantic, gorgeous strike of lightning, as shown in the image above.

Every class has an ability like that, though -- an ability or spell that is so iconic, so ridiculously fun to use, or just plain incredibly cool to look at that you want to use it as often as possible. So I'm wondering -- what's your favorite class spell or ability? What's that one thing that makes the class you play just a little more cool than the rest? What makes that ability so much fun to use? Is it the animation, the amount of damage it puts out, or some other fun factor?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: Call to Arms removed

Way back in 2005, patch 1.7.0 brought with it Battleground Holidays, intended to offer additional rewards to players who participated in particular battlegrounds over a designated weekend -- later renamed the Call to Arms in Wrath of the Lich King. Since then, the familiar sight of representatives from various battlegrounds has been a staple of the Warcraft experience. As new expansions were introduced, new battlegrounds came with them, and were subsequently added to the Call to Arms rotation.

While the thought of getting bonus honor might have been pretty good incentive when the feature was first introduced, as the years have gone on, the Call to Arms weekends have been doing exactly the opposite of what they'd been introduced to accomplish. Unfortunately, some battlegrounds are still perceived as favoring one faction over another -- which means that on Call to Arms weekends, queue times can skyrocket as one side piles on to queue for the additional bonuses, and the other simply avoids the battleground altogether. So what's the solution? Removing the Call to Arms weekends altogether.

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Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

EU Connected Realm Updates for August 28

US Realm Connections may have halted for the time being, but EU Realm Connections are still in full swing. The list of EU realms slated for the Realm Connection service has been updated with new information and new realms in regards to upcoming dates for the service.

The following EU realms are scheduled for connection on Wednesday, September 3.
English Realms
  • Defias Brotherhood and Scarshield Legion/Ravenholdt/The Venture Co/Sporeggar
German Realms
  • Zuluhed and Nazjatar/Dalvengyr/Frostmourne
  • Kil'Jaeden and Anetheron/Festung der Stürme/Rajaxx/Gul'dan/Nathrezim
  • Forscherliga and Die Nachtwache

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Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor: PvP now requires active flagging on PvE realms

Have you ever been quietly minding your own business on the Timeless Isle, or attacking a world raid boss like Ordos, only to find yourself accidentally flagged for PvP due to a misclick or tab target gone horribly wrong? Earlier this year, Bashiok mentioned that one of the goals for PvE realms was to keep players from accidentally flagging themselves -- and in a tweet by Ion Hazzikostas, it's been confirmed that this has now been implemented on the beta.



This means no more accidental flagging for players that are simply trying to DPS or quest out in the open world on PvE realms. And this also applies to healers as well -- healers will simply not be able to heal flagged players unless they choose to actively flag for PvP. Naturally this issue isn't a problem on PvP realms, but for players on PvE realms, the change in Warlords should be a welcome relief. When players make the choice to roll on a PvE realm, that choice is usually a deliberate one that's made to avoid the hassle of unwanted world PvP situations. It's nice to see that steps are finally being taken to keep PvP on PvE realms what it was meant to be -- an optional experience that you can choose to participate in, rather than be tricked into whether you're willing or not.


Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: The Rogue Queue

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I got so many rogue question yesterday, thank you guys! I'm calling today the rogue Queue, because there are quite a few rogue questions to be answered -- but I've also mixed it up a little for those of you that have no love for the sneaky sneak stabbing class. I had so many questions there was no way to address them all -- if your question wasn't answered today, check back tomorrow. I may answer more from yesterday's Queue at that point, depending on how many questions come in today. Speaking of questions ... let's get right to them.

C.H. asked:

Do you think the WOD train level will be more like the train level in Goldeneye or Shadows of the Empire?

I'm hoping for the Phantom Train sequence from FF6. It was the best. And I'm not just saying this on the off chance that we'll be able to suplex the train.*

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: What expansion feature do you want to see next?

Earlier this week, we learned that work is already underway on the next expansion, which is interesting in and of itself. Naturally that means that things like story and lore are probably already in the process of being fleshed out. But with every expansion there's usually one or more fairly big things -- Heroic Dungeons, the LFG system, LFR, Transmog, Scenarios, Garrisons. You know what I mean, the kinds of features that players use again and again, the stuff that we eventually have for so long that we only vaguely remember what the game was like without it. Remember the original meeting stones? Yeah, I can't exactly say I'm unhappy that they're gone.

It's almost kind of magical how Blizzard is still coming up with all these innovative things ten years after the game originally launched. But even with all the additions, there are still some things I'd really like to see. Garrisons are all well and good, but the housing system in Wildstar is still a magical playground of infinite possibilities, the kind of possibilities I'd very much like to see in World of Warcraft. Level 90 boosts are fine, but I still want to see some sort of championing system that will allow you to scale down and join your friends in lower-level dungeons without overpowering said dungeons, or maybe even just go the other direction and have every dungeon in the game just automatically scale to whatever level you happen to be. Level 100 Gnomeregan? Let's do this.

What about you guys? What kind of expansion features are you hoping for with future content? Is there a cool thing you've seen in other games that you'd like to see implemented in WoW? Is there a feature already in game that you'd like to see updated or overhauled for current content? If expansion content is already underway, and future expansions are already planned, what do you hope will be the next big thing, and how do you think it could work?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics